News Local/State

Illini Move Into Second Place Tie After 71-59 Win Over Huskers

Illinois' Da'Monte Williams dunks his only field goal of the night Monday vs. Nebraska in Champaign.

Illinois' Da'Monte Williams dunks his only field goal of the night Monday vs. Nebraska in Champaign. Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

The Illini men’s basketball team beat Nebraska 71-59 last night at the State Farm Center. Ayo Dosunmu scored a game-high 18 points and Kofi Cockburn notched another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

It was a bad shooting night for the Illini, who made only 39-percent of their shots, just 26-percent from three-point range, and 59-percent on free-throws. Coach Brad Underwood was especially dismayed by his team’s execution from point blank range.

“We probably set an NCAA record for the amount of missed layups. We weren’t extremely sharp,” Underwood said. “But, we’ll take it. Move on and get Northwestern on Thursday.”

Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu launches a shot over Nebraska’s Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Monday night in Champaign.

Photo Credit: Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

The Cornhuskers are the second-worst team in the Big Ten, but made the game uncomfortably interesting for their hosts by erasing a ten-point first-half lead. Trent Frazier gave the Illini a boost — and a six-point halftime lead — when he hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 20 seconds of the period, including a 75-foot buzzer beater heaved from just beyond the Huskers’ free-throw line.

“I practice those shots every day, so it was great to see it go in,” Frazier said after the game. “Up to that point, I was probably one for, like, 70.”

Yvan Ouedraogo tallied a double-double for the Huskers with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Haanif Cheatham led Nebraska in scoring with 14 points.

Nebraska falls to 7-20 on the season, and 2-14 in the Big Ten.

The Illini are now 18-9 on the year and 10-6 in the Big Ten — tied with five other teams for second place. It’s the first time in a decade that the Illini have won ten conference games. If they win at last-place Northwestern on Thursday, they’ll lock down their first winning conference record since 2010.

Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for WILL and Illinois Newsroom.